Japan off the beaten track
For those who have the patience to watch all three hours plus
of "Eureka," there's a touching story of humanity in the Japanese hinterlands.
By ROBIN EISGRAU
This three hour and forty minute, black and white film is an elegiac
meditation on what happens to three survivors of a bus hijacking. One
morning in a Japanese suburb, two school-age children (played by Aoi Miyazaki
and Masaru Miyazaki) get on a bus and wave goodbye to their mother. At
one point the bus stops and picks up an agitated looking man.
Next we are
shown the bus in an aquarium parking lot with newspaper taped over the
windows. Several passengers are dead, leaving just the children and the driver
(played by Koji Yakusho of "Shall We Dance" and "The Eel"), who is taken outside by the busjacker.
The quick-thinking bus driver then drops to the ground and the busjacker is
shot by the police.
|Written and directed by: Shinji Aoyama.|
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Masaru Miyazaki, Yoichiro Saito, Ken Mitsuishi, Go Riju, Yutaka Matsushige, Sansei Shiomi, Kimie Shingyoji.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
After this incident, the lives of the three survivors
change drastically. The driver leaves home and wanders for two years. The
children's family falls apart: their mother leaves their father and their
father soon kills himself. The children live alone in their squalid house, supported by insurance
The driver returns to his family and finds
day labor in construction. A co-worker tells him about the children, and he
goes to their house and takes care of them. The children's twentysomething
cousin shows up too.
Meanwhile there's been a series of murders of young
women in the town and the police call in the driver as a suspect. After being
cleared of the crime, the driver buys a scaled-down trailer and proceeds to
take the family on a trip where they do some bonding, the murder mystery
gets solved and a conflict arises, all the while giving the viewer a tour of
Japan outside of the big cities.
Eureka may irk those who expect films of this length to constantly barrage
the audience with spectacle, but its reflective nature and engrossing plot
will draw in those who approach it with patience.
|MAY 4, 2001|
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Eureka from Lyon Blair, Nov 16, 2006
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